Flickr photo by Joe ShlabotnikThe Environmental Working Group (EWG) says forget everything you ever knew about sunscreen purchases for summer.
It may be one of the most important tools in your summer health arsenal, but the EWG's 2010 sunscreen report estimates only 8 percent currently on the market are worth the buy.
After hitting up the EWG ratings for our in-depth children's sunscreen review, it looks like it's back to the drawing board for the adult versions.
According to the EWG, there are just 39 out of 500 sunscreens that passed muster.
The big problem? The SPF claims on a lot of the sunscreens are bogus -- they don't offer as much protection as the number implies, and it's providing a "false sense of security," according to a release shared with The Stir.
EWG's Senior Vice President for Research, Jane Houlihan, goes so far as to compare many of the sunscreens on the market to "snake oil."
The high SPF products often offer very little protection against UVA rays -- which actually account for some 95 percent of the UV rays reaching humans. UVB rays are more likely to burn the skin, but it's the UVA rays that cause significant amounts of cancer.
Whoa! If the burn was all I worried about, I might actually skip the screen -- the burn turns into that luscious brown. But if you're like me, I'm slathering it on to save myself from cancer down the road.
And now they're telling us that we're risking cancer anyway?
So what can you do? Here are the top sunscreens:
1. Badger Sunscreen Face Stick, SPF 30, Unscented
2. Badger Sunscreen for Face and Body, SPF 30 Lightly Scented
3. Badger Sunscreen for Face and Body, Unscented, SPF 30
4. California Baby Sunblock Stick No Fragrance, SPF 30+
5. Loving Naturals Sunscreen, SPF 30+
6. Purple Prairie Botanicals Sun Stick, SPF 30
7. Purple Prairie Botanicals SunStuff, SPF 30
8. Soleo Organics All Natural Sunscreen, SPF 30+
9. Soleo Organics Atlantis Resort All Natural Sunscreen, SPF 30+
10. Soleo Organics Wyland Organics All Natural Sunscreen, SPF 30+
Check with the EWG for the rest of the products that are worth your cash ... and cover up!
Hats, long sleeves, and shade are still the best protection from the sun that's out there.
Are you returning sunscreen this afternoon?